Posts Tagged ‘Natural Menopause’
Menopause night sweats can be frustrating. According to surveys conducted by medical researchers, some women experience them for several years before the onset of menopause and about 50% will experience them during or after menopause. Doctors can perform tests to determine if menopause is causing a woman’s symptoms, but often it is diagnosed according to a woman’s symptoms.
There are several terms that doctors and researchers use to describe the years leading up to and following menopause. A woman is considered to be pre-menopausal if her periods are still regular; peri-menopausal if some periods have been missed or are becoming irregular; and post-menopausal when she has not had a period for more than one full year. There is no way to predict beforehand when the onset of menopause will begin. The average age for menopause or the year when 12 sequential periods are missed, is 51. Women who smoke typically experience menopause two years earlier than the average. Certain medical conditions and treatments may lead to an even earlier menopause.
Clinicians are accustomed to treating patients who have medical illnesses; however, managing the symptoms associated with menopause—a natural, biologic process—is quite different. Hormone therapy (HT) using estrogen either with or without progesterone remains the most effective, and most studied, treatment.1 But many patients and clinicians have reservations about using HT because of the controversy surrounding it. All clinicians, regardless of their specialty, may encounter patients who have questions about the use of hormones. In family medicine practices, women may inquire about hot flashes and night sweats ; in orthopedics practices, the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis; and, in gynecology practices, dyspareunia and vaginal atrophy. Clinicians should be able to respond with accurate, upto- date information on the recommendations for HT as well as its known risks and benefits.